MMA lawmaker says will seek police FIR against Aurat March

Published March 14, 2019
Last week women in large numbers, as well as men, participated in the Aurat March held across Pakistan to mark International Women’s Day, which is celebrated by the global community every year on March 8. — AFP/File
Last week women in large numbers, as well as men, participated in the Aurat March held across Pakistan to mark International Women’s Day, which is celebrated by the global community every year on March 8. — AFP/File

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) lawmaker Abdul Rasheed has lashed out at the Aurat March which was held across Pakistani cities on March 8, saying he would complain to police to have a case registered against the organisers of the event which he alleged disrespected women and was in violation of Islamic principles.

Addressing a session of the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday, the MPA mainly targeted the Aurat (Women's) March which took place at the Frere Hall in Karachi.

He requested the Sindh government's support in registering a first information report (FIR) against the march's organisers, saying he hoped the provincial government would cooperate with him "on the basis of the ideology and laws of Pakistan".

Women in large numbers, as well as men, had participated in last week's Aurat March held across the country to mark International Women’s Day. The first such march took place in Karachi in 2018; this year, the rally was extended to more cities including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

Rasheed claimed that while everyone in the Sindh Assembly knew about and understood the "sanctity of women" as well the roles assigned to them by nature and Islam, in Pakistan women were continually being disrespected.

He said the March 8 event mocked women.

"The placards held by women at the march carried such shameful slogans that a man would be embarrassed just by reading them," the MMA lawmaker claimed.

He noted that one such slogan was 'my body, my choice' and went on to say that a person, in fact, doesn't have authority over any part of their body.

"A person doesn't choose to whiten their hair or take the breaths of life," he said, adding that everyone was the property of God who has attached certain boundaries with every life.

He then turned his guns towards the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). He said although the party had come into power by chanting slogans of creating a welfare state like Madinah, an incident that took place on New Year's Eve last year did not reflect that promise.

"For the first time in Pakistan's history, shameful acts were committed at Karachi's Seaview on December 31 and people had undressed and wrapped their bodies with the flags of the federal government," he claimed. Dawn.com could not independently verify if such an incident took place.

Rasheed said if the family system of Muslims did not last, no one's politics or culture would last in the country. "None of us are ready to enjoy the idea of our mothers and daughters coming out on the streets," he added.

Returning to his tirade against the Aurat March, he said if such events were ignored, they would continue and "things will go beyond boundaries".

Addressing the house and the Sindh chief minister, he said there was no space for such things in the narrative of Pakistan.

"So who gives permission for such activities in the city," he asked. "Why isn't action taken? Why aren't FIRs registered against them?"

Assembly speaker Agha Siraj Durrani interjected and said he didn't think it was the government that gave permission but the minister in-charge was in the assembly who would find out and check the matter.

Rasheed said a woman maintains relations as a mother, a daughter, a sister and then as a wife through Islamic instructions.

"This is our family system," he said, adding that while the progress, education, health and needs of women should be talked about, they should not be "brought out into the streets to be disgraced".

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